April 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Bends, a Musical Challenge. ~ Lizzie Kramer


Lately, I’ve been stuck in a musical rut.

I never liked Radiohead, until I loved Radiohead.

I’ve listened to “The Bends” 1995 album on repeat almost every night since October began. At first it was a ritual, then it became a meditation on each croon, lilt, and lyric of Thom Yorke. I can now proudly recite every word of the album.

“The Bends” healed me. It made me feel less alone, less lost, less confused. It gave me the courage to get up and get out in the world, because I didn’t feel nuts for feeling the way I do—ultimately, it made me feel more a part of the human race.

If Thom Yorke ever needed a back-up singer, I’d be there, gratefully and gleefully whining “It wears her out, it wears her out, it wears her out” right beside him at the top of my lungs. He brought the purpose of music to life, at least for me. This album has been a home for my heart and soul. I love it.

But it’s time to let it go.

When I don’t listen to this album I start feeling a little lost, abandoned and scared. I start thinking, where is Thom Yorke? Why isn’t he serenading me right now? Do I have the bends? Do I have any real live friends?

It wears me out, clearly.

Just like it’s easy for me to get stuck in “The Bends”, it’s easy for everyone to settle into the same patterns, like music, food, people, TV shows, yoga class schedules—thoughts.

Patterns give us a sense of grounding in a constantly changing world, and sometimes, even a sense of identity. But so often when we have to let go of these things that ground us, we become afraid. We forget about the present moment and close the world out for fear of losing ourselves.

It’s okay to have crutches when we need them. They’re there for a reason, to help us to heal. To get us through the twists and turns of life.

To make us feel safe enough to stay present. But there comes a point when we don’t need the crutches anymore, and we start to use them as ways to identify ourselves or as walls to hide behind.

When they go away, we get angry. Or we feel lost, abandoned, or scared (cue my reaction to not being able to listen to “the Bends”). Then the present moment escapes us.

I’m going to make an effort to be more present in the unknown by opening up to new music. I’m going to start listening to songs beyond the inexact yet so exact mathematical spontaneous OCD chaos called creation that I love and is Radiohead. I can always go back home to “The Bends” when I need it. But every day in April, I’m going to find a new song that speaks my soul like this album does. I’m reminding myself to warm up and open up to things that are different. To see the grey in the black and white.

I’m not saying goodbye to this album, I’m never saying goodbye to this album—but I’d like to really be a part of the human race (ha) and start listening to music beyond Radiohead again. It is spring, after-all. I want to see the beauty in the bends and twists of the world.

I’ll be posting my new musical finds here, on elephant journal, for everyone to see—along with a quote, dance move or something that I feel goes with the song (a recipe? Thom Yorke’s spirit animal? The possibilities are endless).

It’s my challenge for myself to live a little fuller, a reminder that it’s okay to feel what is going on in the here and now. A little happy, a little joy, a little pain, a little moment of beautiful spontaneous movement in the midst of the big moment.

The first song of April?

(oh what would Thom Yorke think?—This isn’t an April Fool’s joke!)

Let it gooooo!

No judgement, everyone should listen to this song sometime in their lives. We can all learn to let it go. And with spring, let’s do our deepest (as our body safely allows) expression of camel pose, opening our heart chakra to the sky (I did, indeed just say that) and remember that:

“And the day came, when the risk it took to stay tight in a bud was great than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

Blossom! I’m letting you go, Radiohead. At least for April. Then maybe afterwards I can spend all of May blossoming open with uninhibited joy to Lotus Flower.

What will you let go of?

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Courtesy of Wiki Commons/Callum Black and Pixoto/Dave Files


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